dog fighting - Kali

Illegal dog fighting is still rife in parts of Cheshire, latest RSPCA statistics show.

In the last four years, there have been 151 complaints of dog fighting in the county reported to the animal welfare charity.

There were 43 complaints in 2015, a rise to 45 in 2016. But it dropped to 34 and then 29 in 2017 and 2018.

In the UK, there were 1,583 complaints of dog fighting in 2018 – a drop from 2,128 back in 2015.

The charity released new figures ahead of Dog Fighting Awareness Day (April 8) – an American awareness day that the charity believes should be extended to the UK where dog fighting is still “rife”.

Mike Butcher, RSPCA dog fighting expert and Special Operations Unit (SOU) chief inspector, said: “While it’s promising to see that these figures are dropping year on year, it’s still staggering that something which has been illegal for almost 200 years and a bloody pastime which most people would consider consigned to history is still so rife.”

Many dogs used by dog fighters are never found and those who are rescued are often found to be banned breeds under the Dangerous Dogs Act and cannot legally be rehomed.

But there are some lucky ones.

dog fighting - Kali rehomed

Kali survived and was rehomed

Staffie Kali (pictured) was rescued as part of a dog fighting investigation after she was found cowering in a garden in Hertfordshire, in March 2017.

She was covered in scars, open wounds and bloody bite marks. RSPCA officers traced her owner – who was later convicted at court of animal welfare offences – and she was taken into care for treatment and rehabilitation.

Mike added: “It’s incredible that Kali has recovered from her awful ordeal and gone on to a loving new home where she’ll be safe and cared for.

“Sadly, the reality is that for many dogs, this will never happen. Dogs who win fights are prized and are often treated like Kings.

“But those who refuse to fight or lose are often abandoned or barbarically killed.

“The dog fighting world is a dark and frightening place. But it could be happening in an inner-city warehouse next door to your office or on a rural farm in your quiet village.

“Dog fighting is serious, organised animal cruelty and we would not want anyone to put themselves at risk with the sort of people who are involved in such a violent pastime.”

Anyone concerned about the welfare of an animal or suspect dog fighting may be taking place please call our 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

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